Joan Meschino's Letter to Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization
July 11, 2016
Chairman Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
RE: Support for Studies in the FFY 2017 UPWP
Dear Chairman Mohler,
Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the set of studies under consideration for funding in the Federal Fiscal Year 2017 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). I write to support several planning studies and ongoing programs that would be particularly helpful for South Shore towns (Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate), as they work to address local transportation problems. These towns have varied and important transportation needs. In addition, I am advocating for proposed work in greenhouse gas reduction.
I ask that the MPO select the following planning studies for funding in the FFY 2017 UPWP:
• Low Cost Improvements to Express-Highway Bottlenecks - The Braintree Split is a major interchange that is crippled daily by extreme congestion. Many South Shore residents are tied up daily at this bottleneck. They suffer extended travel times and unsafe roadway conditions. The Braintree Split is also one of the high priority locations identified in the MPO's Long Range Transportation Plan. I ask that the MPO fund this study and give attention to the Braintree Split.
• Addressing Safety, Mobility, and Access on Subregional Priority Roadways - Earlier versions of this study have focused on priority needs in MAPC's South Shore Coalition, and the Coalition and municipalities have greatly appreciated this work. These studies typically identify implementable, complete streets solutions that are well-received by municipalities. I support continuing this series of studies and hope that locations in the South Shore Coalition might be considered again as an area of focus.
• Addressing Priority Corridors from the Long-Range Transportation Plan Needs Assessment - This study could help address the serious traffic problems on the South Shore's heavily congested arterials; Route 3A, Route 228, Route 53, and Route 18. Please include it in the UPWP.
• Study of Promisinq GHG-Reductian Strategies - I heartily support the MPO's ongoing work to identify effective steps to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs).
The outcomes of this work are essential to having real impact in slowing the advance of climate change and related sea-level rise - a real threat to South Shore communities. This study can guide the MPO and the state to do our part to help minimize the devastating effects of inaction or ineffective action in reducing GHGs produced by transportation.
I ask that the MPO fund the ongoing technical analysis programs: Bicycle/Pedestrian Support Activities; Regional Transit Service Planning Technical Support; and the Community Transportation Technical Assistance Program. These programs provide essential guidance and input to local officials in support of their initiatives to improve mobility through better bicycle and pedestrian facilities and new, locally operated bus transit. These programs are an effective way of sharing the MPO's expertise with local officials who are aiming to make improvements. I support this ongoing work and, if they are funded, will work to raise awareness about them within the South Shore.
MAPC,as the MPO's Regional Land-Use Planning Agency, has served the South Shore extremely well. By convening the cities and towns as the South Shore Coalition, MAPChas set up a cooperative forum for collaboration and information sharing. I support their ongoing work as proposed.
For the FFY 2018 UPWP, I suggest planning for more commuter boat service and for intra-community shuttle buses, including shuttle buses to commuter boats and/or commuter rail.
Thank you again for the opportunity to comment on the Draft FFY 2017 UPWP.
Very truly yours, ~